NCHRP Research Report 1059: Access to Jobs, Economic Opportunities, and Education in Rural Areas, from TRB’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program, presents a guide to defining and addressing the unique accessibility challenges in rural communities. NADO Research Foundation staff contributed to this publication as a sub-contractor on the team that produced research and guidance materials.
Rural areas face unique challenges in providing connectivity and access to essential goods and services, including but not limited to jobs, education, health care, and social services. Using data collected through a literature search, stakeholder engagement, and case studies, the report details specific rural accessibility challenges and responds with strategies for addressing fundamental causes of this disconnect; such causes include limited staff and funding, interagency coordination, and stakeholder engagement, as well as rural transportation analysis and evaluation methods. Implementing the results and products of the research is expected to facilitate efforts to increase equity of access to jobs, education, social services, and other essential goods and services in a rural setting.
Supplemental to the report are decision-support tools that can be used to facilitate agency assessment of accessibility needs within their service jurisdictions and to recommend methods for addressing accessibility needs in a decision-making context and an implementation plan that describes expected challenges and opportunities in the implementation of rural access research findings.